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18 Meter National - May 13 Report

Today went about as expected, despite the fact that a frontal passage complicated things a bit.  Our weathermen (we have two) agreed that conditions would rapidly improve in the late afternoon, and that the soaring would last until 1830 at least.

We gridded everyone on the upwind end of the runway and waited for the overcast to break up and the wind to come around.  That happened at about 1300.  Jay Campbell (one of the weathermen and our sniffer) reported that every cloud had lift, but that cloudbase was only 3000 feet above the ground.  That was enough to cause Eric to start the launch, and we all expected the clouds to go up by the time of the opening of the 161 mile Assigned Task.

That was the part that didn’t work out as forecast.  Cloudbases were low all day.  Everyone worked hard to stay in the air and to make progress.  It took at least three hours for the finishers to make it around, and the completion ratio was about 50%.  There were only two field landings, and the other non-finishers came home under power or by aerotow.

The winner today was Bill Gawthrop in his JS-1B.  The next nine places went to ASG-29 pilots.  Bill’s speed was 52.53 mph, not bad for a day on which 4000 feet AGL was considered to be high.  The next two places were claimed by Jerzy Szemplinski and Sergei Morozov.

The outlook for tomorrow is for some good clear air and – fingers crossed – higher cloudbases.

-Rick Sheppe

Posted: 5/13/2016


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